Students & Graduates

In addition to supporting our existing colleagues, we are looking towards the next generation of skilled veterinary workers.

We want to develop student and graduate veterinary surgeons and student nurses into high-flying veterinary professionals.

New Graduate Programme 

Designed by experienced vets, CVS provides an industry-leading graduate scheme to support graduates in the all-important first 2 years in practice, helping graduate vets straight out of university to make the transition into working as a vet in everyday practice.

It offers a comprehensive, practical and theory-based programme of essential Continued Professional Development (CPD) days, supporting the development of graduates’ clinical and non-clinical skills - including self-leadership, teamwork, wellbeing, resilience and business.

The programme starts with a 4-week onboarding phase, comprising a welcome week, residential clinical and professional training week and a supported 2 week induction in-practice. The residential week takes place at CVS’ dedicated training centre and a host practice where senior vets support graduates with their first procedures and consultations. The onboarding phase allows new graduates to practice key day-one skills, re-visit essential knowledge, and provides an opportunity to learn how CVS practices operate. It offers a forum for graduates to meet CVS colleagues from across the business, and bring graduates together so they have a peer-support network. The online learning takes place on CVS’ own Knowledge Hub; a unique and tailored virtual learning platform.

An in-programme phase then supports new graduates joining a practice and ensure they have the resources needed to start a successful career. This includes a mix of 15-20 in-person clinical and professional courses to support the holistic development of the new graduate vet in their first 2 years.

Every graduate is assigned one of CVS’ 250 Vet Graduate Development Programme (GDP) Advisers for day-to-day support and training. To support new graduates, CVS also has two Pastoral Support Vets who work in collaboration with colleagues across CVS, to enhance the wellbeing of new graduates, help support and develop Vet GDP Advisers, and support graduates locally through regional tutor groups. For the next stage of their career, the graduate receives individual mentored career support from senior vets and a wider CVS family careers event.

Student Vet Support

CVS has close connections with veterinary schools and veterinary nurse colleges in the UK. Many of our experienced veterinary colleagues have a joint role, with part of their working hours spent honorary and secondment teaching at UK veterinary institutions.

We provide intramural rotation training for students at a number of veterinary colleges for small animal, equine and farm.

280 of our practices also host extramural studies for veterinary students in year’s three to five of their course.

In addition, we sponsor and support a range of veterinary student events and activities on campus. 

Student Veterinary Nurse Programme

We have an industry leading student nurse induction programme. This training covers a wide range of clinical and non-clinical topics both online and face to face.

All of our student nurses are allocated clinical supervisor to develop their clinical skills (who is given special coaching and mentoring training). We have a team of over 400 Student Nurse Clinical Supervisors.

Our student nurses are also encouraged to develop through online learning via our Nursing Hub on Knowledge Hub platform.

Once qualified, extensive internal nursing CPD is offered to all CVS nurses through our Nursing Career Pathway. This training covers a wide range of clinical and non-clinical topics and practical courses such as Schedule 3, CPR, Diagnostic Imaging, Advanced Medicine, Advanced Surgery, Emergency & Critical Care and Clinical Nurse Practitioner, allowing the individual to become an expert in their chosen field.


CVS is an award winning apprenticeship employer. We offer carefully selected apprenticeships - ranging from level 2 to level 7 degree - throughout our diverse business, providing opportunities to expand skills and support career aspirations.

Career pathways are important and due to our programmes’ success, we can evidence apprentice growth opportunities. The level 2 animal care veterinary support is a popular apprenticeship amongst our PCA’S, providing an opportunity to develop their skills. This apprenticeship is also an essential gateway into veterinary nursing for those not holding qualifications to fulfil entry criteria. 

A key focus of our apprenticeship investment is centred on veterinary nursing studies. Our student nurses attend RCVS registered colleges to complete their formal studies, usually on day release. Alongside college studies, SVN’s work closely with their allocated clinical supervisor in practice to undertake essential clinical learning.

In 2020, we collaborated with Nottingham University to enrol graduate vets onto an Advanced Clinical Practitioner L7 degree programme – the first apprenticeship of its kind within the profession.

Chester Veterinary Training Centre

Chester Veterinary Training Centre (CVTC) is a CVS approved training provider with the ESFA, RCVS and VetSkill awarding body. The main centre is based in Chester with a satellite Centre in Dereham. They are able to access funding and provide good quality training through apprenticeships and non-apprenticeships for the veterinary industry.

CVTC provides a career path for individuals with a Level 2 Certificate in Veterinary Care Support for patient care assistants (PCA), Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing and the Level 5 Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Practice Nurse and ECC) for registered veterinary nurses.

CVTC is also able to offer the functional skills Maths and English qualification to support the Level 2 apprenticeship or for learners requiring this for the Level 3 qualification. Alongside this, CVTC support students, assessors and CVS employees with CPD including OSCE practical revision, train the trainer and PCA days.

Find out more about Chester Veterinary Training Centre